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Prominent Muslims of Kolkata write open letter to Mamata Banerjee

A group of prominent Muslims of Kolkata has demanded strong action against members of their community who were involved in the attack on junior doctors at a government hospital and on former Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta.

The signatories included educationist and businessman Imran Zaki, educationist and social worker Mamoon Akhtar, social worker, and entrepreneur Mudar Patherya, nutrition specialist Hena Nafis and Dr. Zahid H Gangjee among 53 others.

“The attackers in both cases were members of our community – Muslims. We are grieved and embarrassed,” 53 people said in an open letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday.

“Bring the assailants to book, not just in these instances but every single instance where Muslims are involved. They should not be allowed to get away scot-free because they happened to be Muslims (as is a growing perception). This will send out a message that members of one community are not being shielded or appeased (as most people believe),” they said in the letter.

In the past, eminent Muslims in Kolkata had voiced their opinions on a range of issues but never spoke on these lines in recent memory.

It was apparent that the signatories were affected by thousands of social media posts and comments made by some politicians on the religious identity of the offenders.

Several doctors were injured, one of them seriously, late on June 10 after relatives of Md Sayeed, an 82-year-old patient who died, and hundreds of others entered NRS Hospital and attacked the staff.

This led to a state-wide strike by junior doctors which subsequently spread across the country. The strike was called on its sixth day after Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with the agitators and assured concrete measures. Police arrested five people.

Sengupta was attacked by a group of motorcycle-borne young men in the heart of south Kolkata late on Monday night while she and her colleague were returning home in an Uber taxi.

After Sengupta wrote about her plight and that of the taxi driver on social media on Tuesday afternoon, the post went viral and police sprang into action. By evening, Kolkata Police arrested seven young men.

Authorities also suspended a sub-inspector of Charu Market police station and issued a show-cause letter to two assistant sub-inspectors of Bhawanipore and Maidan police stations for not following rules which led to Sengupta’s harassment and encouraged the attackers to follow her car all the way to her house.

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